Delphine (old posts, page 3)

Little Milestones

(Does that mean the stones are little, or the miles?)

We did two big things yesterday. First, I bought child tickets for the TTC. $0.45 each. Delphine is two, so she doesn't get on for free any more. I have defauded the TTC a couple of times since she turned two by just putting in a token in the wheelchair turnstile and pushing her through (I know, I am a VERY BAD PERSON) but this time I figured she would be taking up an entire seat and we should really pay for it.

And she was taking up an entire seat because for the first time, we went on a significant journey (to see Dexter and Ellen -- a subway ride and a bus ride) without any kind of transportation device. No stroller, no sling, no carrier, just me and Miss D. Mostly I carried her, and she had her own seat on the train and the bus (which she even sat on most of the time.) It's like she's a real actual person!


In other news, this morning we were all cuddled up in bed and Delphine was singing "Head and shoulders", except she still omits the shoulders. Anyway, I wasn't wearing anything and she looked at my boobies and said "Sing it, boobie?"

(She does this thing where she wants you to sing something and you have to guess what it is from the one or two words she remembers. Yesterday she came up with "love you, moon, skinny" and I figured out it was "Skinnamarinky-dinky-dink", complete with hand gestures. She must hear that at daycare because I have never sung it to her. But I still remembered the whole thing from watching The Elephant Show when I was a kid.)

So I couldn't think of any boobie songs (can you?) so I made up a new version of "Head and Shoulders" with boobies instead of shoulders. She liked it quite a lot and made me sing it several times. I just hope she doesn't sing it at daycare.

Backwards

Delphine is still a little backwards with her talking. I don't mean she's behind where she should be, I mean she's literally backwards.

For one thing, she isn't clear on whose lines are whose, and is constantly treading on your lines when you talk to her. For example, when Blake brings her into the bedroom in the morning she says to me, "Good morning, Delphine." When she sees someone for the first time that day she says "Hi, Delphine." And when she wants something, say milk, she says "Do you want some milk?" When she was nursing her best line was "Do you want some boobie?" Uh, no thanks, I have two.

She also does this Yoda-esque backwards grammar thing. "Take it, shower, Daddy?" "Read it, book." I sort of wish I had my very own linguist on staff to explain it all.

Two!

I think Delphine came back from daycare approximately sixty percent smarter today than she was when we dropped her off. I have few concrete examples of this, but she generally seemed more like a talking, thinking person than a baby. Which is nice for me, because I like people better than babies.

(Although I like babies well enough -- I was walking home today and I passed a stroller going the other way, so I did the baby ogle expecting a baby of average cuteness, and instead there was this little guy, maybe four months old, in a tiny denim jacket, with a shock of black hair all spiky and sticking up, grinning like a fool. Way cuter than I expected; I think I may have giggled out loud.)

She had supper (pasta with romano beans and fiddleheads -- she didn't touch the fiddleheads but I got her to say "Beans are awesome!") at her little table, as she prefers these days, and while she was eating Thomas walked under the table and sniffed at some rice krispies of indeterminate age on the floor. Delphine said "Thomas! Don't eat it, cereal!" in exactly the right tone of voice.

When Blake came home she ran to the door to greet him ("Hi!", although in a surprise move she was naked -- have you ever been greeted at the door by a naked two-year-old? You should try it.) and asked "How was your daycare?" I guess she figures everyone goes to daycare.

She's started saying "Yes"! For the longest time she said "No" when she meant "No" and just repeated what you said when she meant "Yes". Then for a couple of days she said "Okay" for "Yes", and now she says "Yes". Hooray!

And also, we were all in the bedroom, and Delphine said "Oh goodness me!" (Because she is eighty.) And then she said "No pee on carpet." So Blake swept into action and carried her to the potty, which wasn't in the bathroom where it belongs but in the living room where Delphine had moved it so as to facilitate sitting on the potty while hanging out with Mummy, and set her down on it, and she peed! She peed in the potty! Previously she has only sat on it, with no action. So very exciting!

She's plucking words out of the ether -- we were downtown in the PATH visiting Daddy's office, and she walked up to a bench and said "It's a bench!" Bench?! I never taught her bench! That's so cool!

What else? She can count to nine (she is highly skeptical of these two-digit numbers), she likes to play with trains, and water, and she still loves to be read to. If I put on a TV show she will watch for about two minutes, and then pick out a book and ask "read it to you?" (She still hasn't sorted out who is "you" and who is "me".) She likes to go for bike rides in her "special seat" on the back of Blake's bike. Except that she thinks every time we go on the bikes we're going for ice cream (another love of hers). Which is almost true, now that I think about it; we are planning to go for ice cream on the bikes this very weekend.

And she's two. She had a good birthday -- Blake took the day off and we hung out and went to the park and went for ice cream (see what I mean). She got some nice presents, but not too many, and I made a lemon cake with blackberry jelly and buttercream icing (which was inspired by one of Sascha and Leontine's wedding cakes but wasn't nearly as good) and she ate it very neatly, with a fork, like a lady.

Conversations with Delphine

We were looking at a piece of artwork Delphine had done at daycare. This is what she said:

Daycare!
No pushing!
No pushing, Beniam! No pushing, Claire-Marie!

I guess we know what goes on at daycare.

Almost Two!

Delphine is almost two! She continues to get more interesting and funny and neat, and I really can't imagine how a boring lump of a newborn will be able to compete. I will have to leave myself sticky notes to remind me to tend to the new baby.

Delphine talks a lot. Just lately she has gotten into nursery rhymes in a big way. It started with a tiny book of nursery rhymes I had from when I was a kid. The first rhyme in that book is "Baa baa black sheep", so it was christened the "Baa Baa Book". I thought it would be fun to get another rhyme book, so I got one from the library, and then it became the Baa Baa Book. After we had had it out for a week and I was thoroughly sick of it I took it back, but Delphine kept looking for it ("Baa Baa Book go?") so I had to take it out again. I may buy her a Baa Baa Book of her very own for her birthday.

She makes requests, very specific requests, when we read the Baa Baa Book. "Baa baa sheep?" "Tinkle tinkle?" "Goosey goosey?" And she makes you turn to the page with that rhyme on it, you can't fake it by reciting the rhyme on the wrong page. "Find it 'name-o'?" Lately she has learned more of the rhymes: this morning she requested "To market, to market" as follows: "To market to market, pig? Home again, home again? Jiggy jig?" I don't know what she needs us for.

She knows the whole alphabet. If you get her started with the first few letters she will recite the whole thing, in a kind of mutter. She counts to ten as follows, though: "one, two, three, seven, eight". I guess literacy comes first.

Daycare is going great. For the last couple of weeks she hasn't shed a tear when we drop her off in the morning. Last night when I went to pick her up I snuck round the corner and watched her for a while without letting her know I was there. She was sitting in one of the little toddler armchairs they have and reading a little toddler ABC book, and it was about the cutest thing ever.

I think we will try and keep her in daycare after the new baby comes. It will be nicer for her to keep up that routine, and she seems to enjoy it and get a lot of value from it. Also it will give me a couple of days a week to just hang out with the new baby and rest or whatever. We'll see.

What else? She fetches shoes. She doesn't like to give kisses. She will, on occasion, run into you headfirst and say "goat". She doesn't say "hello" to people, but she will say "byebye" after they're gone. (At first I though she was just slow, but then I realized that in order to say "bye bye" to someone who is still there, you have to anticipate them not being there soon, which is perhaps a little tricky for her tiny brain.) She knows Daddy goes to work on his bicycle. She wants to know what everyone is doing: "Daddy doing?" "Mimi doing?" "Sheep doing?" Pieces of lint or hair or other crud that is inappropriately located is picked up and offered to you with a "Booger?"

What happened to Madeline?

Blake was reading Madeline's Rescue with Delphine this morning, and he was letting her fill in the last word of each line. It went something like this:

"In an old house in Paris that was covered in" ... "vines"
"Lived twelve little girls in two straight" ... "lines"
"They left the house at half-past-" ... "nine"
"In two straight lines in rain or" ... "shine"
"The smallest one was" ... "dead"

(A few pages later is the line "Poor Madeline would now be dead".)

Of course we laughed and laughed, so it's now her favourite party trick.

Daycare

Delphine had her first real daycare experience yesterday; I left her for an hour and a half in the morning, went back for a while and then left her for another hour and a half in the afternoon. Apparently in the morning she was pretty sad but in the afternoon she was okay. She cried when I can to pick her up, and she wanted to leave right away ("Okay, let's go!") but we hung out for a few minutes and she was soon back to playing while I watched.

I was pretty miserable without her, though; I hate the idea of leaving her all alone even though I know she's far from alone. She's learning how to be a person all by herself and how to be with people who aren't family, and by definition she has to do it by herself, but I still wish I could be there with her. It's paradoxical, like teaching her to sleep by herself; she has to be by herself to do it, but I want to be there.

I, on the other hand, am wondering what the hell I was thinking. I'll be making $15 an hour, of which I imagine I will be taking home about $10. That means I have to work for six hours to pay for daycare, leaving me $20 to take home. If, hypothetically (and obviously this won't happen) I take the subway for four bucks, have lunch for eight, and get a coffee for two, that will leave me with $6. Who the hell works a full day for three shiny toonies?

Add to that the fact that I still have to cram a grocery trip, seven loads of laundry, baking two loaves of bread, vacuuming and a trip to the library into the half-week I have left makes me wonder if this wasn't a very stupid idea. Not to mention how the hell do people cook a decent dinner when they get home so late?

But I can't back out now, too many people are counting on me. And I guess the idea behind this was to build up hours so I can get maternity benefits, not specifically to make money now. And I think daycare will be good for Delphine, between the physical activity and the crafts and the structured days, all things I am not so great with. I guess it will work out.

Twenty Months

I'm too tired to write a coherent narrative today, so here are some random notes about Delphine.

Today she counted to five. Her favourite book (today) is Madeline's Rescue. She also likes Freight Train by Donald Crews.

I was trying to get her to eat supper tonight, and she didn't want any. She pushed it toward me and said "Eat it, Mummy". Her first pronoun and her first sentence.

A few days ago Delphine went over to Baba's house with Morgan, and went to look for cheese in the fridge; Baba always has cheese in the fridge, but this time she didn't. Today we mentioned cheese and Delphine said "cheese ... all gone ... Baba ... house". She has all these thoughts, and it's such a pleasure to finally hear them.


Daycare

She started daycare this week; I am sharing a full-time spot with a friend. So far I have stayed with her while she gets used to it, but I think tomorrow I'll try and leave her there and see how she takes to it. I think she will be fine.

It has been fun staying at daycare with her; I thought the daycare ladies (I guess there's a better name for them) might be annoyed to have me there, but they honestly didn't seem to mind. Actually the two days I have been there so far they have been short-staffed, so I was able to help a little, reading to the kids and swabbing snotty noses (approximately 40% of noses are snotty at any given time) and tidying up and so on. The kids are lovely. They're between eighteen months and two-and-a-half, toddling and pretending and interested and cuddly. None of them are horrible, although one of them is very spirited and tends to do whatever comes to mind, but he's also the youngest.

Once upon a time someone (someone with very few social skills) tried to give me a hard time for giving Delphine a "weird" name. The other children in Delphine's daycare are Antonio, Ethan, Claire-Marie, Ursa, Beniam, Eloi, and Laetitia (there are a couple more but I didn't meet them). It's not like she's ever going to be in a class full of Jennifers and Sarahs.

Today

Today, Delphine spun around and around to the music of her 30-song musical duck, and then she staggered around drunkenly and giggled and giggled.

Today, Delphine separated a mandarin orange into segments. (She tried to peel it herself but that didn't go so well.)

Today, I cleaned up Delphine's high chair and put it away; she sits on a booster at the dining table now.

Today Delphine walked across the street to Starbucks with us without being carried once.

Every day is like this, full of little big things.

Nineteen Months

Delphine is not a baby any more. She is a full-on little girl. It happened over the last couple of weeks, but we just realized it today at breakfast when we were sitting at the dining table. Delphine was sitting on a booster on one of the dining chairs, eating her eggs and bacon and waffles with a fork, and drinking water out of a huge 20 oz glass. She's no baby. Blake and I were a little sad.

Good thing we're working on another one.

She is linking words together now; she started couple of weeks ago with "Baba hot tea" and now she's all about the sentence fragments. She says "Hello Thomas" (ah-no Momis) and "Daddy book" (all books are Daddy's book, I don't know how that works) and "boobie nap" (a boobie nap is when she nurses and naps at the same time) and lots of other things. Today she added a possessive "s", "Morgan's boots". And she's being doing plural s's for a couple of days. When we put her down to bed she says "two man-kents" (blankets); I must have said that one day and it stuck with her.

We got her a pair of Sorel winter boots, the classic winter boot (unfortunately not Canadian) and a new navy blue snowsuit, so she is all kitted out for the winter. Later this week if it warms up we're going to go to the park and play in the snow.

I finally got her into a daycare starting in mid-January; I'm sharing a full-time spot with a friend so we'll each have two days a week plus alternate Wednesdays, or whatever we decide. I'm pretty excited about it; I think it's a really good time for her. I think she'll enjoy all the people and activities and stimulation, and hopefully it will take some of the pressure off me to provide Activities and Crafts* and Edifying Experiences, and let me just hang out with my girl in the time we have together.

* I've read a few different "activities to do with your toddler"-type books and articles, and all of them included a multiple-page list of crafting supplies you will "need" in order to raise your child effectively. I have a two-bedroom condo, I barely have room to store pens. Give me a break.

The more I learn about daycares the more comfortable I am sending Delphine to one. There really isn't anything scary or horrible about the kinds of daycares we have in Ontario, which are basically pre-pre-schools run and staffed by degreed Early Childhood Educators. They have planned activities which cover all kinds of different development and all kinds of subject matters. I think Delphine will thrive in that environment; she's so smart and curious and loves new experiences.

I do wonder how she will deal with the other kids. Of the two other toddlers she hangs out with she is by far the most passive; if she gets into a tug-of-war over a toy she will always give in first and cry. I am curious to see what kind of tactics she will develop to deal with the other children.